🖼 the art of money laundering.

welcome to sam’s brain drain, a weekly collection of thumb-stopping things to tap, read, & watch.

estimated reading time: 4m 10s.

⏰ 23 days until 2020.

i’m flying back to san francisco today.

next month, i’ll be taking my longest trip to date: 30 hours of flying to australia (via qatar). spending 15 hours at a time sitting will definitely be a test for me & my overactive mind.

it’s like the equivalent of two kids in the back shouting arewethereyetarewethereyet.

interestingly enough, australia is almost ireland’s antipodal point - such that a straight line connecting the two would pass through earth's centre. these points are as far away from each other as possible.

i’m bloody excited to go on an adventure.


on the agenda this week: the art of money laundering, & opening every letter to santa claus.

⚡️ tag me on instagram or twitter if you enjoy this week's brain drain!


👂 earworm: baynk.

“chasing feelings, pacing back and forth
what are all the empty places for?”

one of new zealand’s hottest producers, baynk is a true success story that never seems to end. jock nowell-usticke, the mastermind behind baynk, earned a degree in chemical engineering years ago, but now he’s performing to some of the biggest crowds at notable music festivals like lollapalooza, hard, and life is beautiful.

not only does baynk fully produce his own impressive discography, but he also takes it upon himself to program his own thrilling show lights and direct all artwork designs.

ones to watch.

stream now:
listen to baynk on spotify or on apple music.


📚 word of the week:

“vicissitudes”.

successive, alternating, or changing phases or conditions, as of life or fortune; ups and downs.

the marble faces, which stand innumerable along the walls, and have kept themselves so calm through the vicissitudes of twenty centuries, had no sympathy for his disappointment.

nathaniel hawthorne, the marble faun, 1860.


🤪 mildly humorous:

outtakes from the twitter-sphere.


🧠 brain candy:

🖼 the art of money laundering.

the sale of a $120,000 banana (that was subsequently eaten, bizarrely) at art basel last weekend reminded me of this article.

when you sell your home the paperwork details the sale, including your name, and the title search lists the names of the people who owned the property before you. but when someone sells an artwork at auction — even something worth $100 million, much more than your house — the identity is typically concealed.

oh, the paperwork might identify the work as coming from “a european collection.” but the buyer usually has no clue with whom he or she is really dealing. sometimes, surprisingly, even the auction house may not know who the seller is.

secrecy has long been central to the art world. anonymity protects privacy, adds mystique and cuts the taint of crass commerce from such transactions. but some experts are now saying this sort of discretion — one founded in a simpler time, when only a few wealthy collectors took part in the art market — is not only quaint but also reckless when art is traded like a commodity and increasingly suspected in money laundering.

read more via the new york times.

🎄 every letter.

séamas o’reilly is a brilliant writer, infamous for his story of how he ended up alone in a room with the president of ireland whilst high on ketamine.

“when i was a 22-year-old student in dublin - dirt poor, heartbroke and overly fond of acid - i somehow found myself spending christmas 2007 opening each letter to santa sent by every child in ireland. this is that story.”

like working in the media or writing for a living, opening children’s letters to santa is one of those jobs that feels better to tell people about than to actually do. so, i told everyone. i regaled tables at parties about how i was the sole person on earth allowed, legally or ethically, to open any envelope containing those children’s innermost wants, and i described the toys, bicycles and boys they so desired.

i told everyone how any letter addressed to santa claus, even if it just had santa, with no address, and no stamp, would find its way to me. it sounded heartwarming – it was heartwarming – that any which had a return address would get a personal reply from santa, sealed with a lapland watermark and a north pole stamp. the bulk of the letters i got were clearly sent in batches by teachers who’d received templates from an post and coached their class through their letters, before packaging them together, with neatly appended addresses for each child.

but there were still some mavericks among the clade, those who had clearly gone out on their own and assembled their own letters off their own bat, who wrote long, fiddly messages in barely readable handwriting, screeds that went on for pages and pages and finished with a hopeful, but fundamentally useless, “micky, aged 8”.

read more via totally dublin.


🦶 footer:

that’s all for this week.

😌 see you next monday!

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instagram: @sam.travel

twitter: @sammcallister

email me: smcallis[at]gmail.com

website: sammcallister.me


👋 read one of my last 5 posts:

💰 plaster saint.

🏡 cul de sac.

🌙 rising waters.

👂silence speaks volumes.

📈 smarter, not harder.

or click to see them all.

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